My first days in the United States
Surely you have heard how difficult it is to emigrate, how difficult it is at the beginning, but also how comforting when things start going well and little by little you find yourself comfortable with your destiny. When you arrive in another country, you must adapt to the new culture, tradition, and people. For sure you feel lost, that feeling of not belonging to something. Student visa process may be complicated but doesn’t have too.
Obviously, you miss your roots, your family, your friends, but for any of the reasons you decided to leave your country, you are here now, trying to start from zero, contribute to this society and acquire new knowledge.
I remember the first days when I arrived in the United States; my plan was to study English. I’ve always had a certain fascination for studying it and talking about it (it’s the universal language); the country where I come from (Venezuela) has been Americanized with TV, products, styles, etc., so I’ve always been influenced by this country. Since I was a teenager, I have not listened to any song that was not in English; I always looked for the lyrics and translated them.
So when I decided to emigrate to the United States, apply for the student visa, specifically in Dallas, Texas, I came with high motivation to learn the language.
How were the first days?
My first days in the U.S. were frightening and exciting at the same time. We come with very high or very low expectations to success. For example, I thought that the process of obtaining my student visa would be faster. There are so many requests that the process can take more than 1 year.
Also, not all the institutes, schools, colleges allow you to change your visa status; they need to have your student visa from your country. At that time, I only had information of one institute (American Learning Institute) that could help you process your permission to study at U.S.A, so I decided to visit them and request information, but now I was wondering, how can I communicate my doubts and everything? Stress come to me!
I felt that I spoke English like a child, I don’t know maybe 2 years old, I saw people around trying to understand what I was saying (even now it still happens) but the good thing is that in that institute they had different people who spoke several languages, so there was someone who spoke Spanish. What a relief, because, let’s be honest, important issues that include legality and money, you need to have the exact information before making a decision.
Now what? Student visa process.
I spent time getting to know the city of Dallas, while I was waiting for the approval of my visa application process, I was going out with my husband and some friends.
One of them already has time living here and invited us to go out with his American friends.
Has not it happened to you that you feel insignificant when you cannot communicate well? I mean, like: What do I do here with these people who do not speak my own language ? At the same time you feel less because you cannot establish a whole conversation without making a mistake. Maybe many people doesn’t care, but I do; I felt that I could embarrass my friends, I am a perfectionist. It is what I felt at that moment and although I knew perfectly well that my friends did not care and that the others were not very understanding. I felt uncomfortable, I still feel it sometimes, but obviously I have improved something when I started studying.
That frustration can definitely motivate or discourage you, but it motivates me more.
Tell me, how was your experience when trying to speak English with another person?
Marianny Perez – ALI student